Chepstow Poor Law Union was formed on 16th May, 1836. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 35 in number, representing its 32 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):
County of Monmouth: Caerwent with the hamlet of Crick, Caldicott, Chapel Hill, Chepstow with the hamlet of Hardwick (3), Didinham (2), Dinham, Howick, Ifton, Ilton, Kilwrwg, Little Tintern, Llancant, Llangwm Icha, Llangwm Ucha, Llansoy, Llanvair Discoed, Llanvihangel Rogiatt, Llanvihangel Tor-y-My-Nidd, Martiern, Mounton, East Newchurch, West Newchurch, Penterry, Port Skewett, Rogiatt, St Arvans, St Pierre and Runstone, Shire Newton, Trelleck Grange, Undy, Wolves Newton,
The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 11,433 with parishes ranging in size from Llangwm Icha (population 25) to Chepstow itself (3,534). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1833-35 had been £3,603 or 6s.4d. per head.
The Board of Guardians met at the workhouse each Saturday at 11am.
Chepstow Union workhouse was erected in 1838 at the north side of Mounton Road to the south-west of Chepstow. Its design appears to have been based on the Poor Law Commissioners' model 200-pauper plan. The workhouse location and layout are shown on the 1901 map below:
In the original building, the east-facing entrance block contained a central entrance hall with the clerk's office to one side, and a small receiving ward to the other. The board-room lay to the rear, leading through to the dining-hall cum school-room. At the centre, an octagonal hub had a kitchen and stores on its ground floor, with accommodation ranges for females to the south and for males to the north. A washroom and laundry ran westwards from the hub. An infectious ward block was oddly situated at the north-east corner of the workhouse, accessed via the men's yard.
In 1895, Kelly's Directory noted that the workhouse "has been enlarged from time to time & is now a commodious suite of buildings & will accommodate 175 inmates. The school is now used as a chapel for the inmates & the children are sent to the board school with satisfactory results."
After 1930, the former workhouse became Regent House Public Assistance Institution. Most of the workhouse buildings have now been demolished. A small building, possibly a board-room and office block, at the south-east corner of the site is currently (2000) occupied by social services offices. A fragment of the main building stands nearby.
Sudbrook Children's Homes
In the early 1900s, the Chepstow Union established children's homes in a row of five houses, part of a terrace on what is now Sudbrook Road, Sudbrook.
The property is now in private residential use.
- 1844: — Master: Joseph Davis; Matron: Sarah Davis.
- 1859 — Governor: John Kent; Matron: Mary Kent; Schoolmistress: Mary Taylor; Chaplain: Rev. George Jones.
- 1871 — Master: JF Hartland; Matron Mrs Julia Hartland; Schoolmistress: Miss Julia Clathworthy; Nurse: Jane Price; Porter: Henry Flowers.
- 1881 Census
- 1891 — Master: Thomas William Steel; Matron: Mary Martha Steel; Infirmary Nurse: Margaret Moulding; Porter: John James.
- 1895 — Master: Evan Davies; Matron: Mrs Davies; Chaplain: Rev. Egerton John Hensley.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- Gwent Archives, Steelworks Road, Ebbw Vale NP23 6DN. Holdings include: Guardians' minute books (1838-1929); Admissions and discharges (1869-72, 1880-1903, 1909-30); Births (1866-1914); Creed register (1877-8, 1912-14); Punishment Book (1881-1913); etc.
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